Metro workers sound off about safety concerns at meeting

Metro workers are speaking out after saying they're being discouraged from reporting safety problems in light of the deadly L'Enfant Metro incident in January. Wednesday night, union workers talked about their concerns at a public meeting.

"The water leakage is a major problem within the tunnels. When water comes in and makes contact with third rail cables, it can pose extra high safety risk to all riders and workers," said mechanic Greg Bowen Jr.

Many problems were discussed, but the January 12 smoke incident that took the life of Carol Glover is really shining a spotlight on the communication problems plaguing Metro.

Workers say they want to raise the red flag, but some are afraid to.

"More than anything, employees should not have to fear being reprimanded if they make a safety report. This puts everyone in danger-- from the operators to the riders to the tax-paying public-- to discourage someone from making a safety report because they could lose their livelihood," said train operator Niya Banks.

A station manager became emotional when sharing concerns about her own safety trying to enforce riders to pay their fare.

"I have serious concerns for my safety when I confront someone that doesn't want to pay their fare. I've been cussed out—threatened-- I've even had weapons pulled on me just trying to do my job. We are afraid," said Cynthia Gary.

The interim general manager for WMATA listened intently trying to soothe the frustrations coming from workers.  

"We have to find ways to give you back information that we have as a result of a safety violation or recommendation that a person made--we need to get back to the front line employees to let them know that an action is being taken or will be taken," said Jack Requa.

Metro management says the biggest concerns from Wednesday's meeting will be brought up at the next meeting of the transit agency's board of directors.

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